“Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.”- G. K. Chesterton in his essay titled “What’s Wrong with the World.”
Tellingly unpleasant as the situation is now, it is certainly not a better time for the world and its habitants much less the world economy. The world economy is ravaged, devastated and plummeted like the Oloibiri Oil Groove in Niger Delta, South-South, Nigeria. The Nigerian economy nay any other is not insulated to the eerie but now novel coronavirus better known as COVID-19; this period can now be likened to the “Great Depression” of the 1930s when the world economy was brought to its very knees.
Even the great Nostradamus with his prognostication prowess of a flu or epidemic from Far East China, and that would ravage the world in a twin year (2020) never in his wildest imagination thought the pandemic would be this cataclysmic and seismic. Alas, it is even more. Companies, NGOs, Government offices, all Education Offices, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, and all forms of self-owned businesses have closed operations owing to global lockdown and fear of the pandemic; and some are at shut-down point because of COVID-19. The level of global unemployment as we have it now was last seen in the 1930s. Inflation rate has doubled and businesses are already filing for bankruptcy. In sane countries of Europe and America, governments are supporting businesses with various packages like tax cuts or exemption for a period; packaging financial lifelines through their various central banks as a way to keep them afloat or at least, not sack their employees. In spite of all of these, many businesses and corporate organisations that are profit-centred are struggling to survive.
It is therefore imperative to pen down internal panacea that are practicable for entrepreneurs, companies and other profit-centred organisations to stay operationally efficient or at least healthy as a leeway out of this Post COVID-19 consequences. And this internalized model is the Kaizen Model of Optimality which is geared towards cutting wastes. Kaizen has its etiology from Japanese language of two words which are Kai, meaning change; the other part: Zen means good. Contextually, however, the Kaizen Model of Optimality has found its way into global business and has won the hearts of business and tech gurus because of its benefits to business space. Kaizen is in fact a philosophy of its own. Kaizen aims at continuous improvement in operations, and involves all employees with respect to enhancing productivity.
An organisation that is fat in budget should prune itself of bourgeoisie’s remuneration which is largely self-inflicted. It is in the bourgeoisie’s perquisites that most companies and profit-centred organisations burn a good percentage of running cost which adds up to operations cost. The stakeholders and Board should as a matter of exigency come to a round table and agree on what is moderately acceptable for their superordinate or top echelon staff. This is the number one cost saving technique.
Another Kaizen principle that should be embraced is the Principle of Agility. Agility which obviously has its etymology from Agile is a business terminological exactitude associated with high speed coupled with output delivery. Agile thrives on adaptive culture where team members are quick to change if expectations are more benefitting and productive. So, every organisation needs to introspect on its business ideation, and determine which it should use the arsenal of its financial muscles to pursue and add to the bottom line. Here, flagship or the main product of the company should be examined vis-à-vis its contribution to total revenue.
More important and breviloquent is the issue of corporate culture and belief system which is enshrined in the organisation’s corporate governance. The corporate governance requires that checks and balances should be adequately put in place in order to block any resource conduit pipes of leakages. No company engaged in manufacturing or any other thing that has to do with material management should look away from its waste products. For companies which do not have effective waste disposal management would continually lose millions of naira because of smart-roguery employees, who are mendaciously pilfering and profiting from the negligence of management under the pretense that it is waste they move away.
The concept of Kaizen, according to Marshakk Hargrave, encompasses a wide range of ideas. It involves making the work environment more efficient and effective by creating a team atmosphere, improving everyday procedures, ensuring employee satisfaction, and making a job more fulfilling, less tiring and safer. Positive change can come from any employee anytime and Kaizen recognises that small changes now can have big future impacts (source: Investopedia).
Again every organisation should redefine its culture of efficiency and uniformity to all stakeholders. Many employees have lost focus of their core competencies and the reason for continuous earning of their paycheck. It is therefore pertinent to have their personal goals and aspirations aligned with the goals, cultural beliefs and value system of the company or organisation they work for. This will to a very large extent avoid conflict or clash of interests.
Lastly, every organisation should carry out the 360 degree evaluation of their staff with the use of technology where respondents are anonymous and their responses cannot be subjected to witch-hunting by their superiors. A lot will be discovered and then, proactive management will be armed with the right information and can block loopholes of financial rascality, thievery, gangster corruption or organised corruption, and many other corporate abuses.
Conclusively, COVID-19 will not be a thing of the past too soon. The effects are likely to last another two years and above. No profit-centred company should avoid or exit because of COVID-19 effects. Great things are born out of adversity. I will leave you with the words of great Aristotle “the beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because it does not feel them but because he is a man of high and heroic temper”.